Italy battles floods as bad weather batters Europe

Grainne Harrington reports on the severe weather that has hit parts of Europe

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Areas of Italy and France are on flood alert as heavy rain brings chaos to parts of Europe.

Hundreds of people were forced to evacuate their homes in the Italian city of Pisa as the Arno river threatened to burst its banks on Friday.

High seas are expected to cause widespread flooding along France's Atlantic coast.

Meanwhile, deep snow drifts left dozens of people stranded in Serbia.

Local officials declared a state of emergency and deployed rescue teams to help travellers trapped in their vehicles. Snow storms and strong winds have been sweeping across Eastern Europe.

People stand on a bridge over the Arno river whose level rose following heavy rain over Pisa, on 31 January, 2014 The Arno river in Pisa threatened to burst its banks
Houses in Landerneau, western France, are flooded by the Elorn river on 31 January 2014, Houses in Landerneau, western France, have been flooded by the Elorn river
An aerial view shows a flooded area after heavy rains near Pisa in this January 31, 2014 Parts of the countryside near Pisa are completely submerged

Italian media said a stretch of medieval wall measuring about 30m (95ft) in the town of Volterra, in the province of Pisa, collapsed as a result of heavy rain.

The French department of Finistere, in the west of the country, was placed on red alert as forecasters warned of huge waves and extensive flooding. Ten other French departments were also on alert for rising water levels.

At least two people died and scores had to be airlifted to safety after floods hit south-eastern France earlier this month.

Severe storms have been battering Europe for much of January.

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